The stock nut on the Jet was actually not too bad, but it had to come off so I could re-profile the fretboard. I’ve recently discovered the tuning benefits of compensated nuts, so I decided to fit one on this guitar. The nut I usually use was out of stock so I tried a slightly different design.
Normally I’d use what the manufacturers refer to as the ‘shelf’ nut, but this one is the ‘Gibson Style Retrofit Nut’. It comes in two pieces. The base fits in the slot where the normal nut goes and is then trimmed or sanded down to exactly match the fretboard radius. The other piece has the string grooves cut in it, and screws onto the base part. It has elongated screw holes so it can be adjusted.
I was initially very sceptical about these compensated nuts. They are pretty expensive. However, the results are spectacular. I now fit them on all my guitars with ‘Gibson’ scale lengths of 24.6″ or 24.75″.
All guitars are a compromise, but those scales seem to be particularly bad for never being in tune. You know when you tune up, play an ‘E’ and it’s OK, play a ‘A’ and it’s horrible? No matter how good the action is or how well cut the nut is, it’s always slightly out of tune. Stick one of these on and you’ll be amazed. It’s a direct replacement, completely reversible and you don’t have to change the guitar in any way. You’ll have to adjust the intonation at the bridge, but that’s no big deal.
My old Epiphone Les Paul was borderline unplayable because it just would not play in tune. With the ‘shelf’ nut fitted it’s within one cent of perfect at every fret all the way up the neck.
This particular Gretsch had some other issues which were affecting the intonation, but once they were resolved this nut put the icing on the cake. I’m not a massive fan of the aesthetics of this one, but it works.